In 1995, Jorge Luis Machuca Gonzalez purchased a Chrysler LHS in Mexico. In May 1996, Gonzalez’s…

In 1995, Jorge Luis Machuca Gonzalez purchased a Chrysler LHS in Mexico. In May 1996, Gonzalez’s wife was involved in a collision with another moving vehicle while driving the Chrysler LHS in Mexico. The accident triggered the passenger-side air bag. The force of the air bag’s deployment instantaneously killed Gonzalez’s three-year-old son, Pablo. Gonzalez brought suit in Texas district court against Chrysler, TRW, Inc., and TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc. (the designers of the front sensor for the air bag), and Morton International, Inc. (the designer of the air bag module). Gonzalez asserted claims based on products liability, negligence, gross negligence, and breach of warranty. The district court dismissed the case on the basis of forum non conveniens as the car was manufactured, purchased, and operated in Mexico, and the accident involved Mexican citizens. On appeal, Gonzalez claimed that Mexico was an inadequate forum because Mexican law capped the maximum award for the loss of a child’s life at approximately $2,500. Does the enormous disparity between what Gonzales could recover for the death of his son in the United States and Mexico render Mexico an inadequate forum? What did the court of appeals decide? Gonzales v. Chrysler Corp., 301 F.3d 377 (5th Cir. 2002).

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